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In 1967, Al Berman started the wrestling program at Grove Junior High School in Elk Grove, IL. He was there from 1967-1969 with a record of 11 wins, 3 losses, and no ties. Two eventual Individual State Tournament qualifiers began their wrestling careers in this program. Craig Mann was one and the other, Rick Morris, became an individual state champion for Elk Grove High School in 1974.

    Al then moved to Palatine High School where he served as an assistant coach on several different levels throughout the years. From 1969-1977, Al served as a freshman coach and amassed 80 wins, 34 losses, and 3 ties. He moved on to become the Junior varsity coach and held that position from 1977-1994. His record during that period was 248 wins, 44 losses, and 3 ties. His combined record over those years was 328 wins, 78 losses, and 6 ties. Al’s teams from 1977-1980 went undefeated in 53 consecutive dual meets, and his teams from 1987-1989 also went undefeated in 58 consecutive dual meets.

    Al served as a Wrestling Tournament Manager for various meets from 1969-1994. During his tenure, he was the tournament manager for: 2 MSL Conference Tournaments; 3 IHSA Regional Tournaments; and 1 IHSA Sectional Tournament. He also has served as the tournament manager 25 times for the Palatine Holiday Wrestling Tournament. In 1993, the tournament name was changed to the “Berman Holiday Wrestling Classic” to honor Al and his wife Sally for their contribution to Palatine wrestling and to the tournament. In 1972, Al and Sally had worked to expand the tournament from 8 teams to 16 teams, and introduced the current double elimination format. The Berman Classic is the second oldest wrestling tournament in the state of Illinois. The only older tournament is the State Individual Tournament. The Palatine Tournament began in 1954 and has been held every year since then.

    Al has served in several different capacities at the IHSA State Wrestling Tournament. In 1976, he was the Assistant Head Bench Official. From 1977-1989 he served as the only Matchmaker for Class AA, and from 1990-1993, he was a Timer for Mat #4. In all of these years, Sally was always nearby working with Al.

    From 1968-1969, Al was a member of a committee that was responsible for representing pre-high school programs for the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association. Throughout the mid 1980’s, he served as a volunteer committee member with the function of providing insight on a variety of topics from an assistant coach point of view. In 1988, Al was selected as an Assistant Coach of the Year nominee. In the Spring of 2001, Al’s lifetime of dedication to the sport of wrestling was acknowledged as he was honored by the wrestling community by being inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame. In the fall of 2003, Al and Sally were inducted into the Palatine High School Athletic Hall of Fame for their many contributions to the Palatine Athletic Community.

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